Say What? Facebook Can See What You Type Even If You Don’t Post It

We won't make fun of you if you decide to don a tinfoil hat, not anymore. A few years ago you might have looked pretty silly wearing one and been the butt of jokes, but these days privacy is no laughing matter, even if companies and our own government treat it like a joke. There's the whole NSA/PRISM thing, but did you know that Facebook can see statuses and comments you type even when you don't publish them?

It's true and Facebook even confirmed it's able to track unpublished posts after a pair of researchers disclosed they had tracked the activity of around 5 million random Facebook users, the Los Angeles Times reports. The study focused on how often users would censor themselves while typing up comments or status updates. After typing more than five characters, the content started being tracked.

"This is something we looked at to understand to what extent people self censor," Facebook said.

Image Source: Flickr (Franco Bouly)

As part of the study, Facebook claims it didn't track the words or letters its users typed, just whether or not they typed something. If a post was not published within 10 minutes of being typed, Facebook considered it to be self-censored. Furthermore, Facebook says the tracked users were kept anonymous for the study.

Beyond the study, which is now complete, Facebook says it doesn't (and has no plans to) track unpublished posts. What's frightening is that it can, and Facebook claims it's within its right to do so because of an entry in its Terms of Service (ToS) in the Data Use Policy section:

"We receive data about you whenever you use or are running Facebook, such as when you look at another person's timeline, send or receive a message, search for a friend or a Page, click on, view or otherwise interact with things," the policy reads.

Don't like it? You can either abandon Facebook or turn JavaScript off.

Thumbnail Image Source: Flickr (_Max-B)